ECDC urges to 'urgently' introduce measures Photograph:( AFP )
ECDC has recommended vaccine boosters for all adults prioritising those over 40
Coronavirus cases are hitting a new record high in various European countries. Amid a surge in cases, the EU health agency on Wednesday appealed to member states to "urgently" introduce measures.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Wednesday said that it has predicted a grim outcome if measures were not taken "urgently".
"The potential burden of disease in the EU/EEA from the Delta variant will be very high in December and January unless public health measures are applied now in combination with continued efforts to increase vaccine uptake in the total population," it said in a statement.
"We need to urgently focus on closing this immunity gap, offer booster doses to all adults, and reintroduce non-pharmaceutical measures," ECDC director Andrea Ammon said.
ECDC has recommended vaccine boosters for all adults prioritising those over 40. "Available evidence emerging from Israel and the UK shows a significant increase in protection against infection and severe disease following a booster dose in all age groups in the short term," the ECDC.
Many countries in Europe have already started rolling out the booster shots.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday tweeted that "boosters should be available for adults, with priority for people over 40 and vulnerable people."
Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Hungary have reported new highs in daily infections.
Meanwhile, the WHO has warned that 700,000 more people could die from coronavirus in Europe by March 2022, taking the total to above 2.2 million.
The 53 countries of the WHO's European regions have already surpassed 1.5 million cumulative deaths from respiratory disease, WHO said.
Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe said, "In order to live with this virus and continue our daily lives, we need to take a 'vaccine plus' approach. This means getting the standard doses of vaccine, taking a booster if offered, as well as incorporating preventive measures into our normal routines."
"Taken together, wearing a mask, washing hands, ventilating indoor spaces, keeping physical distance and sneezing into your elbow are simple, effective ways of gaining control over the virus and keeping societies going. All of us have the opportunity and responsibility to help avert unnecessary tragedy and loss of life, and limit further disruption to society and businesses over this winter season," he added.
(With inputs from agencies)